What causes pink eye (conjunctivitis) in babies, toddlers and adults?

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin covering the white part of the human eyes and the inside of the eyelids.

If infection or irritation happens, the lining becomes swollen and red. In fact, pinkeye is very common and is not serious. It often goes away in 7-10 days without the need of medical treatment.

What Causes Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) In Babies, Toddlers And Adults?

What causes pink eye
What causes pink eye

When it comes to what causes pink eye, it is claimed that most causes of pinkeye are the result of:

  • Infection caused by bacteria or viruses
  • Chemicals, smoke or fumes
  • Dry eyes from exposure to sun and wind or lack of tears
  • Allergies
  • A chemical splash in the eye

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After knowing what causes pink eye, it is necessary for you to acknowledge some types of pink eye or conjunctivitis. There are different types of conjunctivitis or pink eye, which are:

  • Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis: this might impact one or both eyes of a person. Viral conjunctivitis often produces a watery discharge while bacterial conjunctivitis usually produces a yellow-green, thicker discharge. Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis could be associated with the symptoms of a respiratory problem like a sore throat or colds. They are both contagious and spread through direct and indirect contact with eye secretions of an infected person. Both adults and children alike could suffer from these kinds of pink eye but bacterial conjunctivitis tends to be more popular in children than in adults.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis: this type of conjunctivitis impacts both two eyes and is a natural response to the allergy-triggering substance like pollen. In order to respond to allergens, the human body will produce an antibody named immunoglobulin (IgE). As a result, this antibody will trigger some special cells named mast cells within the mucous lining of the eyes as well as airways in order to release inflammatory substances, containing histamines. The release of histamine could produce some allergy signs and symptoms, containing pink or red eyes. Those people suffering from allergic conjunctivitis might experience intense tearing, itching and inflammation of their eyes – and sneezing as well as nasal discharge. The majority of allergic conjunctivitis cases could be controlled by allergy eyedrops.

Red eye is a more general term including not only pink eye, but also numerous of other problems that lead to redness around or on the eye, not just the lining. In fact, pinkeye is the major cause of red eye in addition to other causes, which are:

  • Foreign bodies like insects or metals.
  • Sores, scrapes, or injury to deeper parts of eyes like keratitis, iritis, and uveitis.
  • Glaucoma
  • Infection of areas around the eyes

Facts About Pink Eye

  • Pink eye could be because of both noninfectious and infectious causes
  • Infectious pink eye is highly contagious
  • Infectious pink eye could be resulted by viruses and bacteria
  • Limiting contact with infected individuals, disinfection of the household surfaces and maintaining good hygiene practices will help prevent the spreading of infectious pink eye.
  • Noninfectious pink eye could be the result of chemical irritation, allergy, trauma or underlying inflammatory diseases.